This is from the first episode of my Podcast, ‘Heart of Living’ where I have shared about the grief of losing my pet.
Ep 1: Grief of losing my Pet and accepting suffering
Table of Contents
Just last year in my annual 2022 review, I had written how Mia coming into my life was one of the best things that happened to me.
I didn’t know then that I would be losing her just a few days after.
Starting the podcast was difficult, so in this first episode, I share about my grief and what things are helping/ helped me to accept the suffering I felt.
You can listen to the episode here,
On the grief of losing my pet Mia
Hello and welcome to the first episode of the ‘heart of living’ podcast, and today I want to dedicate this first episode to my pet kitten Mia whom I lost recently at the beginning of the year.
I had found her on my evening walk and I had brought her home. She passed away on 3rd January and it has been hard a hard week for me.
She was two and a half months old and was with me for about one and a half months… but those one-and-a-half months of my life with her were some of the best moments of my life.
She passed away after being sick only for one day after taking her second dose of vaccination. And her passing away has been something so difficult that I hadn’t experienced in so long.
I had thought of choosing something happy and hopeful to talk about on my very first episode, but then life doesn’t always go as planned.
To talk about anything else on this very first episode would mean that I would be ignoring and dismissing the feeling I am really feeling right now, and so I thought, “Why shouldn’t I talk about grief and loss?”
Because really, losing someone we love and grieving over it is something we all human beings have faced or have to face at some point in our lives, and really also at the heart of living.
Talking about our grief and our sadness is something we all try to hide and dismiss anyway, and I too was almost going to do the same whered I had started thinking if I should start my podcast at all at this time, and if I did how could I talk about something happy, positive and hopeful on my first episode when I have been feeling sad, lost and grieving
So this first episode is my effort is not hiding, but being transparent about my loss and the grief, which I believe is such a Universal feeling and how I am trying to deal with it mindfully.
I know here I am talking about the loss of my pet cat, and not many people without a pet might understand how I am feeling, but I I’d just like to say that love is love and loss is loss.
And how we feel grief, no matter for what reason, whether we lose our loved one or a loved pet or a relationship is the same.
So I believe this episode will be helpful to anybody who is going through any kind of loss at the beginning of the year and is not feeling particularly really in the right state of mind as you might have hoped for.
When it comes to losing a pet, I believe we must all start to acknowledge that losing a pet is also equally hard because most of us have the idea that ’they were just a cat’ or ‘they were just a dog’ and not many people understand our loss.
But losing a pet can be equally difficult, and sometimes even more difficult than losing a human being or a relationship.
And I feel this is so because when we lose them we lose someone who loved us unconditionally. I knew my Mia loved me so much and she didn’t want anything in return.
We may have had some rough moments with a loved one, and we may lose someone who never loved us, but with our pets, we are losing someone who loved us so very much and that is why I feel it is the hardest.
And we also have so many wonderful memories and in my phone, my gallery is full of her pictures and the beautiful moments we created.
Honestly, I hadn’t cried as much as I cried in the past few days since the time I lost my father. Everything was bringing back her memories.
My kitten was with me for just one and a half months, but she took up such a big space in my heart in so little time.
She would play all around the house, sleep in my arms and neck, play in the bed after waking up and so after she passed away, everywhere I looked around the house, it brought back her memories and I couldn’t stop crying.
Right now I am feeling a little bit better, but I was a mess the day after and cried the whole day.
When I sat to write down in my diary, I cried again. When I woke up the next day without her, I cried again and every time I remember her, my eyes start to well up again.
So it’s the same… the grief of losing a pet you loved so dearly..
Today is the 12th of January and I am feeling much lighter in my body and much better. I don’t know if it’s the tears that helped me lift off the weight.
I just allowed myself to cry and I believe it is what helped me a lot.
In the days after my kitten’s passing, I felt as if my whole body was enveloped in grief.
I couldn’t move because my body felt so heavy and weak.
I came to know that Sadness makes us tired, and I was feeling so tired. I just laid down the whole day and cried as all the flashbacks of her came to my mind.
So I really believe that crying helps a lot and we must not suppress any emotions that we’re feeling.
I don’t know how I would deal with my loss had I been all alone.
When my Mia passed away, I had my mum with me and it was easier by her side.
Right now my boyfriend has come and having his presence is also helping me get my mind off Mia.
I know not everybody has someone who can be with them, but I want to say please seek the support of your friends, or find some support groups online if you can.
Mindfulness of difficult feelings
I am also trying to be mindful of my difficult feelings
This is hard, but I am just trying to be mindful of my difficult feelings.
There are some feelings of regret like- if I had done this- if I hadn’t done this.
There are some feelings telling me that I won’t be that happy again. Some feelings are telling me that I am never going to find another Mia, and I can never love another cat like the way I did her..
But I am also being mindful of the things I am feeling and trying to give them my equal kindness.
Grief can be messy
The morning after Mia’s passing, I was a mess, but I just allowed myself to be a mess.
If you’ve lost someone, and your life feels like a mess right now, I think it’s important that we allow ourselves to feel like a mess
During such times, it’s easy to also be hard on ourselves, but with mindfulness, we can ease it up a little. And whatever mess we’re feeling, just give it kindness
But I also believe that we must allow ourselves to feel messy for a specific time period, but after that, we must start taking care of ourselves otherwise if we do nothing, we won’t be able to get out of the mess.
Right now I am getting a little better, but I still don’t have high energy, and living in a high-life state like before.
I don’t know when I will be feeling that way again, but I am just giving myself time.
I think it’s important not to force ourselves to feel things we’re not feeling or to force ourselves to stop feeling what we’re feeling.
Lastly, I am just trying to bring acceptance and listen to what my heart has to say.
And my heart is telling me that maybe I had to have this experience sometime in my life because in our lifetime we can’t go on living without also losing our loved ones.
And especially with our pets whom we know can never outlive us.
When I was going through pain, for a moment I thought I am never going to keep a pet again. And even my mum and boyfriend were telling me, “this is why we shouldn’t keep pets, because when they die, it’s so hard”
But then later again when I was crying, my mum came and told me, ‘No it’s okay, keep a kitten again. They give us happiness, they make us laugh and it’s okay even if we have to suffer a little/
And that is what I too had been thinking. I don’t want to shut my heart just because I don’t want to go through the grief again.
The only way to not feel grief would be to not love and that is not a good way to live either.
We grieve because we loved. If we hadn’t cared, if we hadn’t loved, it wouldn’t have mattered.
So our grieving is also a way of showing our respect for the one we lost.
Also, For me, I realized that it is much easier for me to accept the reality when someone has already reached their age, or when I already know they’re sick for a long time.
When my grandfather passed away last year, I was hurt and sad, but I accepted the reality sooner because he had already reached his age and had been sick for some time.
But I had just not expected the death of my kitten.
She was happy and playful just two days before.
She was my first kitten, and I had thought that she would be with me for a long time and I was so excited to see her grow up.
But she had got sick for a day and I thought it was just the vaccination effect. So when she passed, it was so so very difficult.
Everything felt confusing and fearful. I felt if it was the result of me being too happy, or because I posted her pictures on Instagram and someone gave her an evil eye or what we say in India- ‘Buri Nazar lagna’
But then this thought made me recall the 5 remembrances that are there in Buddhism.
And those 5 remembrances are these:
- I am of the nature to grow old. There is no way to escape growing old.
- I am of the nature to have ill health. There is no way to escape having ill health.
- I am of the nature to die. There is no way to escape death.
- All that is dear to me and everyone I love are of the nature to change. There is no way to escape being separated from them.
- My actions are my only true belongings. I cannot escape the consequences of my actions. My actions are the ground upon which I stand.
Now I am slowly coming to terms with the reality, it occurs to me that I have to remember these 3 remembrances most of all
Mostly, I have to remember that once we are born, we are all of the nature to have ill health and this means that we cannot choose what sickness that I would want to get, or I would want my loved ones to get or choose when we or our loved ones get sick.
Of course, we must try to cure ourselves and our loved ones and take care of them, but to get sick is our nature.
I need to remember that we are all of the nature to die and this means also that we are of the nature to die at ANY TIME and not just after having reached old age.
And when this or if this happens, God/Universe is not bad, not punishing us or anything and it’s not because of anybody’s evil eyes.
And I need to remember that we will inevitably have to be separated from our loved ones and experience suffering in life.
To not suffer is to not love, so we must also be ready to experience suffering.
Here, some of you might think that this is a pessimistic attitude to think that we are of the nature to grow old, to have ill health and die, but I believe if you truly acknowledge this truth, it makes the reality so much easier to accept and make our present moment with ourselves and our loved ones feel even more precious and better.
This remembrance might not make you forget the pain and the grief you might be feeling, but it will help you come to accept our impermanent nature.
This does not make me feel like I am now not bothered about my pet’s passing, but it is somehow allowing me to accept Mia’s passing and not blame God, the doctor, or myself, but seeing her passing as a part of living, as a part of nature and taking this grief as something I have to experience.
This is now helping me a bit in remembering Mia with a sense of thankfulness for the good times I had with her and for the love she gave me.
I still don’t know if I will be able to find another kitten like Mia and if I will be able to love another cat the same as her, but I am just trusting my heart that’s telling me that our heart’s capability to love is really inexhaustible, that I have loved before and I can love again and again and again.
That WE can love again and it is our grief that helps us keep our loved ones alive in our hearts.
As I am coming to the end of this episode, I am almost feeling that grief is just love taking another form that has chosen another dress.
With this, I end my first episode.
If you’re still listening, Thank you.
I don’t know if this was perfect for a first episode or if you could make sense of what I said, but I am just glad to have my heart shared and have made my heart lighter.
To everyone who has lost a loved one, I hope we continue to open our hearts with love and embrace it all.
I thank you once again, dear listers. I hope you come back to hear me again.
New episodes come out every Thursday.
Follow me on Instagram at vishaka.blone and you can subscribe to my email newsletter as well
I wish you a wonderful week ahead!